House GOP leaders add rape exception to abortion bill
June 17th, 2013
05:22 PM ET
10 months ago

House GOP leaders add rape exception to abortion bill

Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders are hoping to head off a repeat of last week's controversy over the issue of whether there should be an exception for cases of rape and incest in a GOP sponsored bill banning late term abortions by adding that exception before the House debates the measure on Tuesday.

Republican members on the House Judiciary committee, which marked up the abortion bill last week, voted down a Democratic amendment to allow women who are raped to obtain an abortion beyond 22 weeks into a pregnancy. But House GOP leaders decided to add a slightly different exception to the bill after several GOP members expressed concerns about the issue, according to two House Republican leadership aides. The new language permits an exception for those women who get pregnant through rape or incest to obtain an abortion if they report the crime to the authorities first.

Last week the late term abortion bill's sponsor, Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks, ignited a controversy when he argued against any exception for rape being added to the bill. During the Judiciary panel's markup on the bill Franks said "the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low."

Rep Zoe Lofgren, D-California, a member of the Judiciary committee, immediately pushed back, arguing, "there's no scientific basis for that. And the idea that the Republican men on this committee can tell the women of America that they have to carry to term the product of a rape is outrageous."

Franks later acknowledged his comments opened the door to the discussion of rape and abortion, a topic that caused backlash in the run up to the 2012 election when then GOP Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said the female body could prevent pregnancy during cases of "legitimate rape."

But Franks stood by his comments, and told reporters he was discussing the rare instances of abortions in the six month of pregnancy from women who are raped.

Democrats were quick to point out that there are no female GOP members on the Judiciary panel. Mindful of the optics of another abortion debate–this time on the House floor–dominated by men, House GOP leaders tapped Tennessee Republican Rep Marsha Blackburn to manage the debate on the House floor instead of Franks. Blackburn co-sponsored the bill and is close to GOP leaders and has been critical about the need for the party to include more female voices. One GOP aide told CNN that leaders are encouraging Republican women who support the measure to participate in the floor debate on Tuesday.

It's doubtful that the procedural move to add the rape exception to the bill will stifle House Democrats' spotlight on the issue. House Democratic leaders have repeatedly emphasized that the measure, which is unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-led Senate, was scheduled for a vote while Americans would rather see action on items focused on the struggling economy. They believe independent voters, who could be a pivotal block in the next election, will be turned off by the focus on a controversial social issue.


Filed under: Abortion • House
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. rs

    The Party of Stupid is learning...........very slowly.

    June 17, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. just sayin

    there you go lefties... an exception for rape and incest. now vote to stop the wholesale murder of babies under the guise of "womens healthcare". stop the use of abortion as birth control. in this day and age, with all of the readily available and cheap or free contraceptives, there is no way you can justify th ebarbaric murder of innocent babies with abortion.

    June 17, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Jo Black

    How generous.

    June 17, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. SafeJourney

    Roe v Wade is here to stay whether you like it or not.

    June 17, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. just askin

    ok democrats... get factual. what percentage of prgnancies are due to rate or incest? and how many of them want abortions? facts, figures and the sources. planned parenthood aborting nearly half a million babies a year??? no way all of them are from rape and incest.

    the jig is over... no more kermit gosnell's liberals.

    June 17, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. DarkPoet

    how about abortion to prevent the mother's death?

    June 17, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Paul

    Just syain'.... clearly you are unable to be just thinkin'..... have you never heard of contraceptives failing? Do you live under a rock? Are you a virgin? Rape? Incest? Fetuses that are incompatible with life? Pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother? Plus, ABORTION IS LEGAL!!! Wow, if you people spent as much time trying to help people who have already been born as you do trying to force people to follow your religious beliefs, the country would be much better off. Not going to happen, though, is it?

    June 17, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. it must be said

    If liberals want to ban, control and limit firearms, ammunition and magazines all under the guise of just saving one single life, then they are going to have to vote for this bill for the very same reason. These are reasonable limitations and a compromise on abortion. LEt the babies live Democrats. STOP this barbaric war of babies.

    June 17, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Paul

    All guys should stay out of this. Republicans are digging their graves.

    June 17, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Jrs

    Wow a republican too dumb to use a spacebar correctly, shocking. Now go hop in your foreign made automobile and use your foreign made cell, wear your overseas clothing and keep crying like a whiny child about how the lefts ruined this country you ignorant people.

    June 17, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. LittleAztec

    I want an all female panel to decide on male health issues–like issuing viagra rxs

    June 17, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Hey,gop garbage party, why don't you mind your own business . Where's the jobs bills you gop pigs were supposed to be working on sence 2009 , like I said the gop really is the garbage of America along with their dumb voters.

    June 17, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Bill in Oakland

    "...the measure, which is unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-led Senate..."

    So why waste taxpayer dollars on debating an issue that is not going anywhere? Roe v. Wade is settled law as of 40 years ago.

    Let's move on, please.

    June 17, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. hotstuffinpdx

    The republican war on women continues

    June 17, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. ender

    I'm a true believe in a woman's right to choose. But late term abortions are just sick, sick, sick! There is no excuse and should be given no exceptions.

    June 17, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. shelby

    GOP is all about attacking voters rights, labor rights, and women's reproductive rights.

    June 17, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Richard Miller

    Simple fix to this whole problem: Women's right to choose-not men's. pretty simple isn't it? But then, when could Congress ever figure out something simple?

    June 17, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Bishop

    So Justin, I guess you are getting those figures together for us now?

    June 17, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. romano

    The Republicans are now in favor of abortion?

    June 17, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. DoubleSteve

    The only way this gets through the Senate is if they add an exception to add post-birth abortion to some of the commentors on here.

    I love how the pro-life right wingers are the same ones who complain about welfare and social programs, but giving birth to another unwanted child who will most likely depend on these programs is a must.

    June 17, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. Mr. Flibble

    @just askin – Ahhhh, Completely clueless of the facts, lying and you can't spell, use punctuation or complete sentences; typical Conservative.

    June 17, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    The GOP is simply going to lose all women voters, with this stupidity. Every last one.

    June 17, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. always getting it wrong...

    Here we go again, getting it wrong. The government has no right to tell a woman what to do with her body. Now they are trying to tell them they can't have the late term abortion they are asking for unless they accuse someone of rape or incest first? And no one else sees this as a problem?

    It's time eo just vote out the republicans until they come to terms with the modern age. Evolution is a fact, global warming is a fact, religious freedom is for all Americans, not just rich white Christian folks,and old rich white men have no business telling woman and minorities what they should be doming with their lives.

    June 17, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. Exterminate GOPhers

    Its 2013 and women can't make their own medical decisions? I hate this country more and more everyday. The GOP is trash, and all its members are ignorant filth. How about we institute minimum IQ requirements to be eligible to vote? Setting it around "10" would knock out at least half of the "people" associated with the party of filth.

    June 17, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  25. Patroy

    I have to agree with Just sayin: With all the free education and free birth control, there should be very few unwanted pregnancies in this Country. Just because you can have babies does not mean you should!!

    June 17, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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